I was writing on Facebook this morning in bed, on my iPod, just after I woke up. I was trying to use 2 hands. It didn’t work. My left thumb was hitting the wrong keys, feeling like it was a fat pillow cushion rather than the dexterous skill of my right thumb. I usually use my right thumb to text on my mobile/cell and my right forefinger to type on my iPod. My left hand didn’t stand a chance.
11 years ago, mobile phones were just making it big in Ireland: after a summer of sneering at them, my friend and I were offered a free flip phone when we opened student bank accounts and we succumbed. There were thousands and thousands of Irish 18 year olds heading of to university with the exact same wine flip phones from a manufacturer I can’t even remember. A friend of ours returned from travelling Australia. She noticed the constant texting and wondered how we had gotten use to the thumb-writing so quickly. It’s just like writing on a keyboard, we explained, you get used to it and get faster. I thought on this conversation this morning as I struggled with my iPod. Once upon a time, we had to learn to text.
We laugh at the reactions of our younger relatives as we Skype home. My housemate’s niece, only a few months old in her defense, wondered was it the flowers behind the laptop talking; their brightness caught her attention more than the image on the screen. My nieces and nephews accept my face on screens without much excitement these days, my nephew was more excited about going to visit his Granda’s farm than bother with a video call from thousand of miles away. He gets to see me this way all the time, Granda and the animals not so much.
My Grandfather was amazed at the technology he saw in his day. He laughed with my mother that they had both seen more change in their lifetime than either would again. My grandfather died in 1984. He saw the introduction of electricity and running water in homes, the beginning of the telephone linking parishes though not yet homes. He saw his currency change twice. Cars became common. For those going to Canada or Australia or the US or England back in his youth, as many did, a letter home once in a while was a gift bringing news that they were safe and hopefully included a little money to help at home. A letter these days is a gift for the opposite reason, a slow and measured form of communication in a world where we are all available at the click of a button.
What strikes me about his comment was that we now accept things can change quickly. We don’t have flying cars yet, and Concorde has taken things back a step, yet we live in a world of possibilities. I was clueless about MP3s and iPods until my little sister was gifted the Touch and I became hooked. Yet, we fully accept a new upgrade in our technology is probably just around the corner. We have become accustomed to new technology. Maybe like me, your lack of insight and innovation means you’re clueless about what it could be, but that means it could be anything. Somewhere, someone is inventing things, taking something nobody has heard of, or taking something everyone has heard of and making it much, much better.
I wonder what’s next?